7.5/10 Before I get into this review, I feel I must clear something up as I have talked to several people who claimed that this film was “just a rip off of “Hamlet” but in Viking form.” This film tells the story of Amleth, a legend from medieval, Scandinavian times as written by Saxo Grammaticus at the end of the 12th century and into the beginning of the 13th century. It was William Shakespeare who based his own “The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark” off of Amleth’s tale, meaning that many people today have it backwards when it comes to where this story originates from. Now we can go back to “The Northman”, which was my 6th most anticipated film of 2022, thanks to co-writer/director Robert Eggers, the brilliant talent behind “The Witch” and “The Lighthouse”. While his first two films were low in budget, they were extremely memorable, graphic, filled with terrific performances and insane attention to detail, going so far as to not use any artificial light but instead only use sunlight and candles during filming, as were the only options when his films that take place in olden times had available to them. I was extremely excited to see what Eggers could accomplish with a $70 million budget (reports of the budget ballooning to $90 million have been greatly exaggerated). Eggers did have some constrictions seeing as how studios tend not to give film makers $70 million without some strings attached. In the end, Eggers gives audiences a refreshing film that has become quite the rarity in Hollywood these days as Eggers and co-writer Sjón are more interested in simply telling an engaging and authentic story as opposed to forcing a politically correct message and/or changing historical facts in the process (i.e.- pretty much any Netflix show that takes place hundreds or thousands of years ago). While I was initially disappointed that Eggers switched up film composers for his third film, Robin Carolan and Sebastian Gainsborough do a fantastic job bringing one of the best film scores of the year so far to filmgoers. The visuals look incredible as we get to see beautiful, practical locations as well as visually stimulating hallucination sequences. The action is brutal, gory and unapologetic in appropriate Viking fashion. Eggers doesn’t water anything down and doesn’t hold the audiences’ hand when it comes to what is real and what may be a hallucination. This is a mature, adult drama and the type of film that we need more of in Hollywood. Eggers brings his same attention to detail to “The Northman” as everything from the language to the lighting to every article of clothing and object you see onscreen is respectfully accurate to the time period from whence it came. The acting is phenomenal with Alexander Skarsgård dedicating himself 100% to the role and getting into insane shape for his performance. It is great to see actors Eggers has previously worked with (Anya Taylor-Joy and both actors who played her parents in “The Witch” and Willem Dafoe from “The Lighthouse”) show up for roles here as well. As far as what doesn’t work, there isn’t a whole lot. While this centuries old story hasn’t been properly told before on the big screen, we do essentially get a revenge tale, which has been done in a million films over the years. Add that to the fact that Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” is so popular and you will be able to predict a lot of the story beats as they unfold. Finally, Eggers probably could have trimmed a solid ten minutes of screen time to slightly tighten things up a bit. That being said, Eggers is now three for three and continues to highlight how talented he is with his singular vision for his films. While his next film has hit a few snags recently, I am hoping things get back on track and that we won’t have to wait too long before we see what he creates next. If you want more films in Hollywood that aren’t CGI orgies of superheroes or countless sequels, prequels, remakes and reboots, be sure to support true art like “The Northman”.

#NorthmanByNorthmanWest / #GoingBerserkerForThisFilm / #CrowsAndHawkes / #VikingQuest2 / #AtEternitysHate / #AmlethThereBeBlood

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